Monday, October 26, 2015

Keep Loving

Got 5 people to commit to baptism this week! It was awesome! The spirit was way strong and definitely did not just help out the people we taught, but helped me out a ton too. It seems like whenever we teach something, no matter how strong I feel like my testimony is about the subject before we go and teach, the Holy Ghost always strengthens my testimony while we are teaching. It´s pretty cool. I definitely enjoy living the missionary life.

Our schedule got changed. Seasons down here are flipped, and, in the winter months, we get to sleep for 8 1/2 hours cuz of a lack of light and high stress levels or something like that. Now that we are going into summer and get more light, we only get 8. Oh well, every other missionary in the world only gets 8 so I prolly shouldn´t complain.

Presidential elections here were yesterday. So, Pres. Zanni sent out a message to all the missionaries saying that we could only leave our houses for church, so that we could "avoid surprises". Glad I didn´t get to find out what kind of "surprises" he was referring to. So this week we basically get two P-Days. It was sweet just kickin it in the pensh and hanging out. Of course we cleaned a bit and studied, but, that still left us with a few hours of free time. It was nice.

So down here, with pretty much every single golden investigator, there is some sort of marriage conflict. Either they are living with someone and aren´t married, they are married, but separated and living with someone else, or, they are married, separated, and dating someone else (or their spouse is). So, it is really tough to baptize these investigators who eat up everything we teach and follow through on their commitments. Mostly with the investigators that have to get divorced though (marriage is cheap and you only have to wait 20 days). To divorce here, you have to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000. This is a lot of money by American standards. By Argentine standards, it´s pretty much a year and a half to two years of salary. And the process takes anywhere from 1-3 months. It´s tough.

I think their is definitely something to be learned from this though. I think that God is really trying to get a message to me through the difficulty of divorce here: that he disapproves strongly of divorce. This church is family centered, and we know that, as stated in the Family Proclamation, "children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and mother who honor their marital vows with complete fidelity..." Parents, give your children this right that they have, whether or not your parents gave you access to this right. Those who are not yet married, when you get married, make absolutely sure to give your kids that right, and to honor the vows you take at marriage so that your kids can recieve the happiness and support system they deserve. Remember, "Children are an heritage of the Lord" Psalms 127:3. I understand that tough times will come into marriages, that there will be times when you, as a spouse, will be angry with your spouse, or think that they are wrong and you are clearly right, or that there will be times when you do want to quit, to take the easy way out. But, guess who didn´t take the easy way out: Jesus. He could have walked away from the Atonement at any moment. He had every right. He had no sin. He did not have to do anything that he did. But he endured. He pushed through the pain, the agony, the suffering, for one reason: he loves us. And we aren´t even his kids. We are just his brothers and sisters. So, parents and future parents, no matter what, please push through for your kids. No matter what happens in your marriage, do everything in your power, and then some, to give your kids what they deserve, because Jesus gave us something we don´t. When you want to quit, think of the effect it will have on your children. Think of how much it could harm them. And remember that Jesus didn´t quit. He endured, and he will help you to endure too.

I am so grateful that my parents gave me the opportunity to be raised by parents who honor their marital vows, and, more than that, the ability to forgive each other. To take the high road and let things go, and to be willing to admit when in the wrong and yield to the other. I hope to provide the same opportunity to my kids, no matter how tough it gets.

Sorry if I "baje la caña" ("bajar la caña" is an expression that basically means to be straight up or speak boldly or directly). I just felt really strongly that I should share what I have learned this last week. That marraige truly is ordained of God, and that divorce is not. Love is the answer. Just like in Harry Potter, love is the strongest force their is. Because of love, Heavenly Father sent his son to bleed, suffer, and die in the most excruciating manner possible, being nailed to wood and hung up like a flag. Because of love, Because of love, Jesus died willingly pushed through the pure agony of the Atonement. Please use his sacrifice to the fullest extent possible. I know that as we use the Atonement, we can overcome ALL things, no matter how tough it or insurmountable it may seem. It is there to be use. So please use it. It will bring unimaginable joy.

I guess I´ll stop being super preachy and whatnot. This week really was great. Elder Yaques and I are getting along great, he´s a pretty funny guy. Some of his jokes are getting old though, but mine are too so that´s fine.

That´s it for me this week. ¡Chao!

Elder Brown

John 3:16

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